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Robert Brinkmann - Hofstra University. Hempstead, NY, US

Robert Brinkmann Robert Brinkmann

Vice Provost for Scholarship and Research and Dean of Graduate Studies / Professor of Geology, Environment, and Sustainability | Hofstra University


Professor Brinkmann's research background is in geology, geography, and environmental science and policy




Robert Brinkmann Publication Robert Brinkmann Publication




Sustainability Studies at Hofstra University Understanding Paris Climate Talks Climate Change in Election 2016: HU Office Hours with Bob Brinkmann Earth Day 2016: HU Office Hours with Bob Brinkmann




Robert Brinkmann is the Vice Provost for Scholarship and Engagement, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and professor of geology, environment and sustainability. He holds a Geology BS and MS, and a PhD in Geography.

Brinkmann has an extensive research background in geology, geography, and environmental science and policy that resulted in dozens of articles and several books. His most recent book, Introduction to Sustainability published by John Wiley and Sons, is the first significant textbook in the field. His book, Sinkholes of Florida, published by the University of Florida Press, dives into the world of karst science and policy in one of the most active geologic regions in the world.

Brinkmann is the founder of Hofstra’s Sustainability program and is passionate about the environment and research. He is active with a number of organizations. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, the Editor of the Journal of Suburban Sustainability, was the President of the Florida Society of Geographers, and is the Chair of the Board of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (5)

Karst and caves Sustainability Sinkholes Environmental Science Climate Change

Accomplishments (4)

Editor (professional)

Journal of Suburban Sustainability

Associate Editor (professional)

Journal of Cave and Karst Science

Series Editor (professional)

Environmental Sustainability for Palgrave

Eddie Mitchell Memorial Human Rights Award (professional)

Tampa/Hillsborough County (FL) Human Rights Council

Education (3)

University of Wisconsin: Ph.D., Geography 1989

University of Wisconsin: M.A., Geology 1986

University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh: B.A., Geology 1983

Affiliations (1)

  • Chair and Board member, National Cave and Karst Research Institute

Media Appearances (9)

The Science Behind Florida’s Sinkhole Epidemic

Smithsonian Magazine  online


How helpful is the Sinkhole Report? “I don’t think it is the prediction model that some hoped for (it would be very difficult to create one), but it does advance the science,” says Robert Brinkmann, a geology professor at Hofstra University who wrote Florida Sinkholes: Science and Policy and owns a house in Sinkhole Alley.

“The real challenge here is that the state doesn’t really fund much sinkhole research, particularly since real estate remains one of the driving economic engines in the state,” Brinkmann adds. “The federal government has not really funded any significant studies on the topic except for this modest one. Millions in federal dollars go every year to tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes, but little if any goes to studying sinkholes..."

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Huge Sinkholes Are Appearing in the Wrong Places

Associated Press via Daily Mail (UK)  online


Sinkholes are not a new phenomenon in the United States, especially in a half dozen states where the geology makes them more likely. But a recent spate of huge, sudden-appearing caverns is prompting alarm because they're happening in places where they shouldn't, and now seem to be proliferating nationwide. The usual cause: crumbling water, drain and sewer pipes, often neglected by cities with budget problems.
Some experts are calling now for a national study to assess the risk and potential remedies, which could involve high costs for many jurisdictions.
"The financial impact on cities is in the millions of dollars a year around the country," said Bob Brinkmann, a professor of geology, environment and sustainability at Hofstra University.

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NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) reports that 2016 was the Earth’s warmest year on record.

FOX5-NY  tv


"While we do see naturally occurring climate change, this dramatic shift is caused by us," Dr. Robert Brinkmann said.

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Central Florida's 'Sinkhole Alley'

CBS Evening News  tv


Hofstra Univeristy's Dr. Robert Brinkmann, author of Florida Sinkholes: Science and Policy, discusses what causes sinkholes.

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Cuomo: New York state can absorb closing of Indian Point nuclear plant

Daily Freeman News  


Dr. Robert Brinkmann, founder of the Sustainability Studies program at Hofstra University, agrees. He predicted the closure would have little impact and said the remainder of the state’s electric grid would comfortably be able to supply the power lost from Indian Point.

“The state has been quite aggressive with other renewables, we have quite a lot of energy coming from hydroelectric plants, and there has been a lot of work to boost other green energy, including wind and solar,” Brinkmann said...

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Mosaic plant sinkhole dumps 215 million gallons of reprocessed water into Floridan Aquifer

Tampa Bay Times  


Water in the aquifer is laden with sand and sediment and flows slowly. Nonetheless, extracting all of the contaminated water and sediment before it spreads will be extremely difficult, said Robert Brinkmann, a professor of geology and environmental sustainability at Hof­stra University and author of Florida Sinkholes: Science and Policy.

"That's the bad thing about this: The aquifer is like Swiss cheese and it's interconnected," Brinkmann said. "Contamination can be very rapid. They must be working very hard to figure out where this is going."...

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The Academic Minute: Bob Brinkmann on Caves

WAMC - Northeast Public Radio  radio


Robert Brinkmann, Professor in the Department of Geology, Environment, and Sustainability at Hofstra University, discusses what caves have to tell us about our planet – and even Mars and beyond.

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Sinkhole or no sinkhole? Residents fight 6-year battle as law shifts around them

Orlando Sentinel  online


The new law seems to have made a difference. In 2011, the year the law was changed, Citizens Property Insurance said it paid out some $500 million in sinkhole claims in Florida. In 2013, the state-created insurance company said it paid out a little more than $100 million.

Robert Brinkmann, director of the sustainability-studies program at Hofstra University and author of the book "Florida Sinkholes: Science and Policy," said the biggest impact of the law changes has been the inability of people to get coverage in the first place.

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Op-Ed: Our Approach to Water is All Wrong

Newsday  print


For decades, California has worked to transform its natural desert landscape into an oasis for major cities, agriculture and industry. Yet this transformation created an unsustainable human landscape that is now vulnerable to the drought conditions it is experiencing....

How do we manage water resources on Long Island? Most of Suffolk County is served by a single water authority, but in Nassau County, there are about 40 water management organizations. Each one is responsible for delivering drinking water to communities. While there is some coordination and cooperation, we do not have a coordinated approach to managing water. We all share one aquifer, but we have more than 40 straws dipping into the same glass.

The lack of coordination in water management is problematic for effective long-term planning of our shared aquifer.

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Courses (1)



Articles (5)

Sustainability initiatives in professional soccer Soccer & Society


Professional soccer, as an important driver of popular culture, has the potential to transform how we view and practice sustainability. Since the 1980s, the field of sustainability has focused on trying to reduce the impact of human activity on the planet by measuring and assessing the behaviour of organizations. While much progress has been made in a number of areas such as recycling and pollution, much more needs to be done to ensure that future generations are not harmed by today’s consumptive society...

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Karst Environments: Problems, Management, Human Impacts, and Sustainability: An Introduction to the Special Issue Journal of Cave and Karst Studies


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The romantic movement heavily influenced the development of science in 19th century America. The Hudson River School of art, which idealized epic landscapes and grand vistas, had a big impact on the field of geology by providing tableaus on which geologists could imagine themselves as scientific interpreters of the heroic images. Within this context, the New York Publisher D. Appleton and Company produced a two-volume set of books in the early 1870’s that contained dozens of chapters and hundreds of images representing a number of places in America. The result, Picturesque America, was the first true geographical representation of the region after the devastating Civil War. Meant to highlight the best attributes of the cities and landscapes, the books contain some of the most romantic geographical images and texts ever published. The steel and wood engravings were done by some of the most noted artists of the time. An analysis of the images of karst landforms in the volumes is presented that suggests that most karst landscapes were not romantic enough to be of interest to the artists and writers. Instead, the focus was on the more dramatic landscapes such as canyons, waterfalls, and mountains. It is suggested that the unromantic character of karst landforms slowed the development of karst science.

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The effectiveness of street sweepers in removing pollutants from road surfaces in Florida Journal of Environmental Science and Health


To test the effectiveness of street sweepers in the sandy-surfaced, subtropical Florida Peninsula, a controlled experiment was set up to compare the effectiveness of two different sweeper types in removing sediments, heavy metals, and organic constituents from a paved surface. Both a rotary brush and a regenerative air sweeper were tested on an asphalt roadway. The results indicate that rotary brush sweepers are more effective in removing total sediment loads from roads in this type of environment...

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Publications-Popular Press and Opinion Pieces Huffington Post blog

Brinkmann, R. President Obama Shines Light on National CaveandKarst Research
Agenda. Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-brinkmann/presidentobama-shines-li_b_10461046.html

Brinkmann, R. 2015. Ten Tips for Freshman Success in College. Huffington Post.

Brinkmann, R. 2015. Don Draper’s Advice for Climate Change Deniers. Huffington
Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-brinkmann/don-drapers-advice-forcl_b_6980228.html

Brinkmann, R. 2015. Our Approach to Water Is All Wrong. Newsday.

Brinkmann, R. 2015.7 Sustainability Secrets that Will Save the World. Huffington
Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-brinkmann/seven-sustainabilitysecr_b_6771046.html

Brinkmann, R. 2014. 20 Green Predictions for 2015. Huffington Post.

Brinkmann, R. 2014. ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Verses ‘Star Trek Voyager’ on
Climate Change. Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bobbrinkmann/orange-is-the-new-black-v_b_6116518.html

Brinkmann, R. 2014. Sustainability: The First Postmodern Discipline. Huffington
Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-brinkmann/sustainability-the-first-

Brinkmann, R. 2014. A Field Guide to Sustainabillies. Huffington Post.

Brinkmann, R. 2014. A Climate Change Scientist and a Skeptic Walk Into Pub….
Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-brinkmann/a-climate-changescientis_b_5559914.html